More Companies Launch Contextual Ad Networks

    April 27, 2004

Tacoda Systems and aQuantive, Inc. have decided to throw their respective hats into the lucrative contextual ad industry. The difference that these companies offer is that they are behaviorally targeting their ads. In other words, the companies are directly targeting users, not just web pages.

The Tacoda Systems model, called AudienceMatch, is designed to target users based on profiles by categorizing them, much like websites are categorized for targeted ads. This approach is similar to the ad campaign that Engage attempted and abandoned.

According to, “Tacoda’s network will target its ads based upon member publishers’ knowledge of the site visitor. That knowledge will come from registration data and from information about the person’s behavior across the network.”

aQuantive, much like Tacoda, is also developing behavioral ad targeting campaigns, called DRIVEpm. Whereas Tacoda is basing their campaign on user registration data, aQuantive’s approach will be different. aQuantive’s approach calls for the purchasing of online ad inventory from top publishers, then selling this information to advertisers at a higher price.

The company will use all information available except personal identification information. This includes demographic and geographic information, connection speed and context. “We believe that DRIVEpm is not only a win for aQuantive but a win for the online industry in general by helping to eliminate the common enemy in online advertising — advertising waste,” said Scott Howe, general manager of DRIVEpm in a statement to

With Engage and DoubleClick failing at a similar attempt to target ads based on user behavior, one has to wonder if Tacoda and aQuantive can succeed where others have failed. Although, given the financial success of contextual based ads, its easy to see why these companies are attempting this approach.

Thanks to for pointing this out.

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